Trinamool backing to GST Bill gives breather to Modi govt

New Delhi: Modi government could breathe easy on the GST bill in Lok Sabha tomorrow with Trinamool Congress pledging its support to the key economic reform measure even as several opposition parties, including Congress, BJD and the Left, are sticking to the demand to refer it to the Standing Committee.

Trinamool Congress Chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee
Trinamool Congress Chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

“Standing Committee and Select Committee have already taken a view on the measure. So there is no point sending it again to the Standing Committee,” Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’ Brien told PTI when asked about the party’s stand on the issue.

He said that the government has promised compensation to states due to the roll-out of GST.

“In our manfiesto in 2009, 2011, 2014, we had committed to support the GST. West Bengal is a high-consumption state in terms of liquor, tobacco, petroleum,” he said making it clear that Trinamool Congress will back the government on the issue.

On April 26 when the Bill was moved in Lok Sabha by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, members of Congress, led by Sonia Gandhi, along with those of TMC, Left and NCP had staged a walk out after their plea for referring the Constitution amendment Bill to the Standing Committee was not accepted.

The protest of Trinamool Congress, was then, however, on the technicalities, and not on the content of the bill.

AIADMK and BJD also opposed its consideration but did not walk out. Congress has been trying to reach out to these two parties to make a common cause.

BJD leader Bhartuhari Mahatab said that his party was firm in the demand to refer it to the Select Committee as it it is a “new bill” because it has a number of new provisions which have not been deliberated so far.

Besides, he said that BJD has also given certain amendments on issues realted to tobacco and minerals.